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Good Parenting Can Prevent Bullying

Open, communicative parents raise kids who don't bully

Want to avoid raising a bully? The good news is, you can! A new study highlights specific parenting behaviors that push kids to bully others. It also identifies some good choices you can make as a mom to help your kids treat others well.

Last week I wrote that parenting doesn’t matter. In this area at least, it seems that it does. Being a better parent can help prevent your kid from becoming a bully.

Over a third of kids bully others at least once in awhile, according to this study. Livescience reports on the study, which shows that bullying has been on the upswing over the past decade. From 2003 to 2007, there was a 52% increase in the number of kids whose parents said they were sometimes bullies. Parenting style seemed to play into whether or not kids became bullies:

Across the years, a few risk factors for bullying emerged. Children who had emotional, behavioral or developmental problems were more likely to bully. Kids of parents who said they often felt angry or bothered by their child were more likely to be bullies. And moms with mental health problems were also more likely to have kids that bullied.

Happily, the study found that parenting style can make a big difference in preventing bullying. Specifically, here are some strategies that pay off in teaching children to be nice to their peers:

  • Talk to your kids: Parents who had open, communicative relationships with their children were less likely to be raising bullies.
  • Know your child’s friends: knowing the kids your kid spends time with was another insulating factor against bullying.

It’s not clear if children who bully are more likely to make their parents angry, or if angry parents tend to raise bullies. Either way, the researchers thought that intervention programs seeking to prevent bullying should focus on helping parents manage their emotions better and become more involved in their children’s lives.

Photo: Leonid Mamchenkov

Signs of Bullying Behavior: How to Tell  If Your Kid is a Bully

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